Early Monday morning, General Motors shared the news of its new partnership with telecom company AT&T - a partnership that will result in most new vehicles having support for 4G LTE mobile broadband built in by the end of 2014. Initially planned only for vehicles in the United States and Canada, GM says eventually other global markets will get the same option.
Specifically, GM said, the bulk of its 2015 line, including Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles, which are scheduled to be available for sale sometime next year, will be capable of using an array of "in-vehicle communications and entertainment capabilities" via the AT&T 4G LTE mobile network.
The partnership will include making each vehicle into its own WiFi hotspot, giving people the ability to connect to the internet via an always-on connection, without the use of a smartphone. To support this, AT&T's technology - including a separate, dedicated antenna - will be hardwired into the cars and trucks.
With this technology on board, back seat passengers will be able to view streaming video and download applications, while drivers will also benefit from real-time navigation and traffic updates direct from the cloud.
Future uses for the technology may include vehicle to vehicle communication.
Speaking on behalf of GM at a press conference, Mary Chan, president, Global Connected Consumer division, said, "In addition to allowing consumers to bring in and connect to personal mobile devices, the vehicle will also act as its own mobile device, enabling embedded vehicle capabilities. Turning this vision into a reality starts with enabling fast, reliable and responsive connectivity within the vehicle. Through this built-in 4G LTE connection we have the opportunity to reinvent the mobile experience inside a vehicle."
It is not yet known whether an AT&T monthly data plan will be included with the price of vehicles, or if a separate fee will be required.